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Who'd like a makers only Craft Fair in Bristol?

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  • Who'd like a makers only Craft Fair in Bristol?

    I shall be going to Bristol next week with my colleague Laurie Wignall to check out a large city centre venue with 1,500 square metres of flat exhibition space which we are going to use for our next Unconventional Meerkat. Brunel's amazing Passenger Shed, see and

    (We ran into a hassle over the use of the word "market" so we thought we'd change it slightly. Simples! )

    This would of course also suit a Craft Fair - if there was sufficient support, as hiring such a large venue is far from cheap. And availability is in short supply for dates, but I'll look into it if enough crafters want me to?

    We would be looking for 200 standard pitches 2.5m wide by 2m deep at around £30 a pop for it to be viable. Or £40 if you wanted it to be free admission. There's an Ibis Hotel nearby with a room rate of just £27.50 (before we try and negotiate a discount!) and parking at Templemead is £6.

    Best wishes

  • #2
    Sounds like a good place to have a fair .... we'll be there if you do it


    • #3
      Sounds a great idea. Please keep me in the loop for dates as I'd love to do it if not already committed.

      Thank you, Morenwyn


      • #4
        I'd love a craft-makers' only fair in Bristol, but...

        I'm sorry if this sounds overly negative, but I think 200 stallholders being charged £30 to £40 a table would be a disaster at this location, no matter how much effort you were to put into the organisation.
        The venue itself is fantastic for events like office Xmas parties (I went to one there last month and it was fab).

        However, this is not which I would describe as the 'city centre' in terms of being in an area where people go to shop of a weekend (most Bristolians drive because the bus services are such a rip-off). You would not catch many 'passers by' here. It's 10-15 mins walk to Broadmead/Cabot Circus shopping centre and the immediate area reeks of heavy traffic fumes, and the immediate architecture (with the exception of the station complex) consists of soulless corporate buildings. It is not a pleasant environment.

        Most passers-by on foot will be using the train station and probably will not have the time to spend to look at the fair (except some of those having time to kill due to train delays).

        Plus £6 is a lot of money to pay for parking, and the only free parking nearby is 10 mins walk away in Totterdown, which has very steep hills, narrow streets with cars parked either side of the street and it's hard to find a space there. I don't think many Bristolians would be willing to part with £6 to park in a grotty area where the only attraction in the vicinity is a craft fair.

        The Ibis currently charge about £65 a night for a twin room. This hotel is mainly used by business customers.

        I heard that a large craft fair in Bristol on a Saturday in the second week of December, near Ashton Gate, had to close early because there were no punters. This was an RAC-signed posted event. I saw the signs myself but hadn't even heard that it was on, and I still haven't found out who the organisers were.

        If you could find a venue in the immediate vicinity of Cabot Circus or Broadmead, or the Harbourside, that would have a lot more potential.

        I live about 25 mins walk away from Temple Meads, and I used to work just a few mins walk away, so I do know the area very well.

        I hope you get some more opinions from other local crafters.
        Last edited by funky_bunny; 29-01-2010, 08:18 PM.


        • #5
          I do agree with Funky Bunny as to the location. It's not really an area people would walk to or pass by.
          Plus car parking in Bristol is more of a rip off than in Bath where I live!
          Have any craft type fairs been held there before?


          • #6
            A fair with 200 stalls needs to be somewhere with a guaranteed high footfall (at least 2000) to give everyone a fair chance.


            • #7
              Hmmm... I've just looked at your website now David, and I do think this event could be popular with Bristolians, and I do like the Unconventional Meerkat idea!

              One thing to consider is that there are many large festivals in Bristol with free entertainment (e.g. the Harbour Festival, Balloon Fiesta) - so some entertainment in the way of re-enactments, demonstrations, live music, dancers, etc would go down well and draw people in - as many locals will expect it.

              Regarding the Unconventional theme, did you know that the current TV series 'Being Human' on BBC3 about a vampire, ghost and werewolf living in a shared house is set in Totterdown, just 10 mins walk away from Temple Meads?

              Perhaps you could use that as a theme in your marketing, and sell a guided walk from the event to see nearby filming locations e.g. the house and New Found Out pub in Totterdown, plus Redcliffe and the Harbourside?
              Last edited by funky_bunny; 30-01-2010, 02:45 PM.



              • #8
                One of our reasons for selecting th ePassenger Shed for the Unconventional Merkat - and considering it as a venue for a CraftFair - is that my colleague Laurie Wignall used to run 45 pubs in Bristol a few years back and knows the place rather well. His view is that locals won't be daft enough to park there and pay, that'll be for trippers from further afield.

                And if the Craft Fair is priced for exhibitors so that it is free for customers, I think that will offset carparking grumbles.

                I think if we have a 200 stand quality all-hand-made craft fair and it is promoted properly ( leaflets, posters, newspapers, road signs, banners, the internet, the full monty!) it will pull in a lot of interested customers, and from a far old distance because the road connections are so good. And they can come by train!

                The £27.50 is what the Ibis have on their website, I didn't make it up!

                As to having things going on at the Unconventional, check out
                which was an integral part of the National Living History Fayre when I set it up and ran it. We also had a Corset Parade, I'm sure there are photographs somehwere around, we took enough! There's definitely some on my facebook page galleries

                Best wishes
                Last edited by David Smith; 30-01-2010, 04:37 PM.


                • #9
                  Thanks for the links - those are great photos - it's a shame I'll be away when the Unconventional Merkat is on otherwise I would have loved to go. I think the Passenger Shed is a good venue for it.

                  However, I don't consider it to be a good location for a huge craft fair of 200 tables.

                  I've checked the Ibis website as well. They have a special offer on at the moment of up to 50% off and that ends next month. So yes, they are offering rooms for 27.50 on Sunday nights and mid-week next month. However, the price quoted for a room on Sunday 10 Oct 2010 is 'From 45.50'.

                  What time of year are you thinking for a craft fair?



                  • #10
                    Fairly open minded on date, obviously much will depend on availability, and our own commitments. Such as

                    We'll have a better idea after our visit.

                    Best wishes


                    • #11
                      Hi, There is a community craft thingy in south Bristol in May, which is just along the river from temple meads you could possibly run it around that as it is very well supported. Could I suggest bearing in mind the huge number of students in Bristol who are a good source of income for events like this, West of England college of Art just down the road, so try to keep it in term time. Good luck, will be there if I can.



                      My Ebay shop


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by funky_bunny View Post

                        If you could find a venue in the immediate vicinity of Cabot Circus or Broadmead, or the Harbourside, that would have a lot more potential.
                        On reflection and after listening to the 'locals' opinions i think that the city centre location would be far more succesfull. It may cost more but may well be worth it.

                        When we visit Bristol we park in the city centre and can do the shopping, sight seeing and all the other stuff easily on foot and those area's mentioned are definitely where the people are.

                        I notice that the passenger sheds website does not list any of it's future events happening there...(or maybe i just missed where it was) do other public events happen there or does it mainly cater for private functions ? just interested that's all.

                        Here's hoping that Bristol gets a makers fair ....


                        • #13
                          Well put me down for a Bristol fair. My son lives there.
                          I'm a meercat fan and I'm unconventional. I think I'll fit in.....